China link strong part of KBank strategy
Kasikornbank will announce its new president by end of next month, chief executive officer and president Banthoon Lamsam said yesterday."The president is part of business management but, no matter who becomes president, the running of the business will be continuous, as the strategy framework is clear," he said at a press conference on KBank's partnership with China UnionPay.
With KBank this year targeting loan growth of 9-11 per cent, based on growth in gross domestic product of 5 per cent, Banthoon said the bank's lending expansion would continue to be in line with its ability to control risk and capital.
As to the partnership with China UnionPay, KBank is the first Thai bank to join the Chinese credit- and debit-card issuer in online bill payment and e-commerce for UnionPay cardholders.
The partnership with the Chinese financial institution is part of KBank's strategy to facilitate activities between Thai and Chinese customers.
The biggest trade flow in Asia is driven by China, for which the role of payment and e-commerce will be significantly increased, he said. KBank will focus more on this channel, alongside bill-payment services through its traditional receiver system, electronic data capture (EDC).
Thailand is a major destination for investment and tourism by Chinese enterprises and travellers, he said. The number of Chinese visiting the Kingdom last year was 2.8 million, a level that is expected to rise to 3.3 million this year.
The growing number of Chinese visitors will be an opportunity for local banks to provide bill payments services, which is why more Chinese financial houses will be seeking cooperation with Thai institutions, Banthoon said.
The number of UnionPay cardholders totals 3.23 million, of whom 2.8 million are in the Asia-Pacific region. The number of merchants accepting UnionPay cards amounts to 5.65 million.
Spending in Thailand via UnionPay cards totalled Bt34.5 billion last year, with cash withdrawals from automated teller machines amounting to Bt1.56 billion, an annual increase of 38 per cent.
Spending via KBank's EDC at 34,500 of its merchant partners accepting UnionPay cards was Bt7.7 billion, also 38 per cent higher than in the previous year.
The agreement for system enhancement with UnionPay will enable merchants using K-Payment Gateway to accept UnionPay credit and debit cards and support sales volumes via e-commerce in Thailand, the bank says.
K-Payment Gateway serves more than 36 major currencies for credit and debit cards. Last year, more than Bt45 billion worth of card acceptance was conducted via Gateway, making it the top player with a 70-per-cent market share.
KBank expects K-Payment Gate-way usage this year will grow by 30 per cent, to about Bt60 billion.
Pakorn Partanapat, executive vice president of KBank, said all of the bank's 45,000 merchant partners across the country would be accepting UnionPay cards by end of this year.
The next step in the partnership between KBank and China UnionPay is the launch of a joint credit card, which is expected to be announced in the third quarter, he said.